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Sep 2, 2009 06:56 PM

Babyback ribs vs. Spare ribs

Which is your preference, and why?

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  1. Spare Ribs.....meatier and more fat makes them tender if cooked right. Also you can't make Chinese black bean spare ribs with babyback ribs.

    5 Replies
    1. re: monku

      Not true. I've made great see jup pai guet (!!!) with babybacks -- lots meatier. Well, see jup anything is great!

      1. re: Sarah

        Think my Chinese butcher would laugh me out of the store if I told him to cut up a rack of baby back ribs.

        1. re: monku

          Actually, I've only ever had back ribs in that preparation. Spares seem like they would be too fatty for a short braise like that.

          I do vastly prefer spares for American-style smoking or oven roasting though though, where the excess fat drips free. If you trim it St Louis style, the flap finishes cooking early and becomes a delicious snack for the weary BBQ cooks.

          1. re: monku

            Why would you go to a butcher who laughs at a customer's order?

          2. re: Sarah

            You're right.
            Went by a Chinese market this afternoon and they had baby back ribs cut up to go. I'll have to try it.

        2. I'm also a fan of spares. More meat, more fat, more yum.

          1. Baby Backs:

            1. They cook quicker
            2. I don't like the riblets off the spare's and don't want to pay for them.
            3. Costco has great BBacks, lots of meat, some are like little pork chops.
            4. I buy cases of baby backs at Costco, get an additional 25% off
            5. they look better than spares

            In bbq contests almost all the ribs that are turned in are Baby Backs.

            5 Replies
            1. re: duck833

              "In bbq contests almost all the ribs that are turned in are Baby Backs"
              Where did you get that from?

              1. re: duck833

                This is completely untrue. Baby backs are not for bbq. They start off tender and cook quickly. No reason to bbq them at all. For purposes of bbq, it's spare ribs all the way.

                But of course baby back ribs have many other uses and are more practical for the home cook for reasons already stated.

                1. re: Steve

                  I have a feeling that "bbq" might mean "meat cooked with bbq sauce" in that application.

                2. re: duck833

                  In bbq contests, most ribs are St. Louis-cut spares, and ALL the winners are.

                  1. re: duck833

                    how did you order your bulk from costco?

                  2. That is what I saw and chewed on.

                    At least in the NW, maybe it is different in other parts of the country.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: duck833

                      I just never heard or saw that from all the Food TV BBQ contests I've watched, usually its spare ribs they're smokin.
                      Almost every serious BBQ place I've been to serves only spare ribs.

                    2. spare's are cheaper, that is why restaurants do them instead of bbacks.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: duck833

                        Applebee's, TGIFridays, Ruby Tuesdays, etc have baby back ribs AND ONLY BABY BACK RIBS on the menu.

                        Arthur Bryant's in KC, Bob Gibson's in Alabama, Interstate in Memphis, Kreuz Merket in Texas, etc SERVE ONLY SPARE RIBS.

                        I think I see a pattern here.

                        1. re: Steve

                          Well put, Steve. Kind of says it all.

                          Thanks to everyone for their input. I've only done baby back ribs in the past, and they always come out fine, but they never do seem very meaty. Rather skimpy, in fact. I think I'll try a rack of spare ribs this weekend.

                          1. re: Steve

                            +1 for patter recognition. I miss Kreuz's.